How to S-T-O-P Christmas - "T"

Hopefully you've read the first two posts in this series and realize I'm not all about being a Grinch!  If not, please take a moment and read them here

I don't want to "stop Christmas" - I want to S-T-O-P Christmas!

First, there is the concept of "simplify".  It really can make a difference in what you are trying to do and what you are letting stress you out.  Simplify instead of stressing - oh yes!

The next thing to S-T-O-P Christmas is something that goes on inside.  In the heart.  A seemingly small choice that will work its way from the inside out.....into big results.


For "thankful".

Wait.  Don't stop reading.  This really will make a huge difference in how you view Christmas. How you approach your "to do " list. How you treat other people.  And especially how much you and yours enjoy the season.

It's all too easy to pretty much skip over the spirit of Thanksgiving and slide right into "stuff to do, and give and get" .  I mean, really , think about how "Black Friday" has practically eclipsed the day set aside for gratitude!  Instead of a time for thankful reflection, we spend it packing our stomachs and unpacking our wallets.  Hardly a way to set the tone for a grateful heart.

An lack of thanksgiving shows up as impatience.  Fretfulness.  Irritability.  Disappointment over unmet expectations.  In short, the Grinch.

What a difference it can make if we are intentional about cultivating a thankful heart!  Instead of focusing on what we want to get, or even give, if we concentrate on the blessings we already have, our heart is soothed.  Enriched.  Content. 

A grateful heart changes the atmosphere not only of its resident but also of those around it.  I vividly recall one time a group of wives were sitting around complaining uh, sharing, about their husbands and one woman completely changed the whole conversation by gently praising her man.  Nothing showy.  Not even a rebuke of her friends.  Just a quiet humble giving of thanks for something she appreciated about him.  Every single woman changed her tune.  It evoked in all those around her to realize the things they, too, were thankful for.

Being thankful is possible, even in the most difficult  of circumstances.  Some of the most thankful folks I know have experienced the greatest of all heartbreaks.  They have hurt and grieved and wished things could've turned out differently....yet they still have chosen to give thanks.  To find blessings in the midst of pain.  Intentionally.  In so doing, they have found contentment.  Satisfaction.  Even joy.  A thankful heart,

How can we be thankful, genuinely?  How can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude?

John Piper says that "gratitude rises in proportion to how undeserved we perceive a gift to be".  Wow. That's a lot to ponder.  Think about the converse.  If we are not grateful, it is likely because we think we deserve the good we get....and more.  And if we don't get all the good that we think we deserve, not only are we not thankful, we are likely angry and bitter and envious.

How to S-T-O-P Christmas?

Not only simplify.....but be thankful.  Thankful to God for His indescribable gift of Jesus.  For His unmerited favor.  For the countless blessings of life and relationships and beauty.

Thankful also to the people we encounter every day.  In little ways and big ways.  Give thanks.

And change the atmosphere of the season for those around you!